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For example, in the gospels, Jesus enters ongoing conversations among Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Herodians, priests, scribes, prophets, Roman authorities, excluded sinners, and the poor. There is a tradition that celebrates the monarchy and another tradition that deplores and laments it. There is a tradition that sees order and justice in history embodied in Deuteronomy and Proverbs and a tradition that sees chaos and injustice embodied in Ecclesiastes and Job.

Every statement we encounter in the Bible comes from someone situated in one or more of these ongoing conversations.

Book of John

Put differently, we need to read the Bible dialectically, sensitive to conflict and counterstatement, placing every action and statement in relation to the parts of the conversation that have gone before and those that will come after. The Bible is not, as many preachers of my childhood affirmed, so easy to understand that any child can interpret it. Nor can all the scholars of a generation. Nor can all the scholars of all generations.

The Benefits of Reading the Bible

No, we must listen to the voices of the past — the Second-Century apologists, the early church Fathers and Mothers, the desert Fathers and Mothers, the Celts, the medieval scholars, the Reformers, the persecuted Anabaptists, and so on - in all their harmony and cacophony of agreement and disagreement, reading the text with their voices as part of our ongoing conversation. But at the same time, we must realize that our institutional past has at various times strongly favored readers with Greco-Roman perspectives, male perspectives, Euro-American perspectives, violent and colonial perspectives, wealthy perspectives, Industrial-era perspectives, and constitutional perspectives.


Ironically, the Bible itself was composed by a culture with a profoundly different vantage point: Semitic rather than Greco-Roman; Middle-Eastern rather than Euro-American; colonized, enslaved, and oppressed rather than colonizing, enslaving, and imperial; poor rather than wealthy; agricultural rather than industrial; and poetic rather than constitutional. This article is part of the blog series, 66 Ideas for.

  • Idea #21: Why Reading the Bible in Community with Other People is So Valuable.
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Six Reasons to Read the Bible Every Day

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Study This. Ephesians Ephesians 2 Ephesians 4.

4 Reasons to Read the Bible More Often - The Christian Post

Footnotes: Ephesians The Greek for family patria is derived from the Greek for father pater. Bible Gateway Recommends. View More Titles.